Wednesday, January 12, 2011

And it Begins-- Again

It's been several months since Murray broke out in any odd rashes, or gauged himself on normally harmless items, or found a way to make himself lame. His luck was bound to run out sometime.

Tuesday, January 11
9:30 pm

Dave and I pour up mugs of decaffinated tea and trudge out to the barn for night stables. He re-fills water buckets while I pick manure from the stalls. As I shove the wheelbarrow into Murray's penthouse suite, I notice that something doesn't seem right. His left front leg looks odd. His cannon bone (the large bone which connects his knee to his fetlock/ankle) looks larger than usual.

I bend down to feel it, but Murray backs away. We do an odd dance around his stall until I finally convince him to let me touch his leg (I'm too stubborn to go grab his halter). There's no heat, I can clearly see his tendons, and at first there doesn't seem to be any swelling. Then, I feel the inside of his cannon bone and notice that the area over an old splint (a bony lump on the inside of his cannon bone) is a bit soft. That explains it.

The splint itself doesn't generally bother Murray, but because it's on the inside of his cannon bone, and because Murray has a tendency to whack himself with his opposite front leg, it does sometimes tend to become irritated, causing new bone growth to form, which in turn makes the splint larger, and which in turn makes it more likely that Murray will hit it again. I'm not to worried though. This cycle has been repeating itself for about five years now, and it generally doesn't cause any lameness.

Wednesday, January 12

It's a beautiful, but eery morning. A blizzard is set to blow in later this afternoon; but for now, the air is still, and a curtain of thick grey fog makes the landscape look like something out of a black and white movie. Sepia grasses poking up through a blanket of snow are tipped with silver frost, as are the black fence rails. It's a great day for a ride, and as I dump Murray's grain into his bucket, I remind him that we're going for a romp in the snow before the bad weather hits. I've completely forgotten the bit of swelling I noticed in his leg last night.

I go about my morning chores as the horses crunch their pelletted feed. I'm partly done mucking Murray's stall when I notice his leg-- again. Uh-oh. Eleven hours later, and it's clear the splint is not the problem. No, while there is some tenderness on that splint, it's clear the real problem is on the outside of his leg, in his tendons. The swelling starts just below the knee and goes all the way to his fetlock. It's at its thickest about halfway down the lower portion of his leg. I'm hoping it's just a strain and not a bowed tendon, but with Murray's luck it's hard to say. I guess it's time to dust off the old ice packs and dig out the bottle of bute. And I guess Maggie will get a workout in the snow for the second day in a row.

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